Criminal Justice 101
26 November 2006
The Death Penalty
Capital Punishment through History
The death penalty has evolved through the centuries much like the creation of laws in the United States. Capital punishment, also more commonly referred to as the "death penalty," is the pre-meditated and planned taking of a human life by a government in response to a crime committed by that legally convicted person. (1) Death Penalty broken into its exact meaning is a noun. By definition, it is the execution of a condemned person. Synonyms in relation are capital punishment, death sentence, death warrant, execution, judicial execution, judicial murder and legalized killing. (2)
In the United States, passions are penetratingly divided and equally strong among supporters and protesters of the death penalty. The creation of the death penalty began during the Eighteenth Century B.C. in the Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon, which codified the death penalty for 25 different crimes. (3)The death penalty was also part of the Fourteenth Century B.C.'s Hittite Code; in the Seventh Century B.C.'s Draconian Code of Athens, which made death the only punishment for all crimes; and in the Fifth Century B.C.'s Roman law of the Twelve Tablets. Death sentences were carried out by such means as crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement. (4) The United States has evolved since then utilizing lethal injection and electrocution.
There are many citizens that are against the death penalty. Such as Amnesty International believes that "The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. It is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state in the name of justice. It violates the right to life. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. There can never be any justification for torture or for cruel treatment."(5) The Catholic Church frowns upon Capital Punishment. Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop...